Monday, January 2, 2012

Mr. Quong Tart is a happy man

He is one of those very highly-favored individuals upon whom the sun of gladness seems not to set. It matters not where Mr. Quong Tart may be-feasting the poor, speaking at a social gathering, or plunging into business, he, in all circumstanoes, maintains a happy state of unruffled evenness. Men may come and men may go, but with Mr. Tart happiness seems to flow on for ever. He is a naturalised celestial, who has had the courage to wrench himself from the associations of his intelligent but egotistically insulated kinsmen and he has thrown in his lot with those among whom he has always found unlimited kindness, cordiality, and, what is still better, very substantial sympathy; Mr. Tart is a ready-witted, mirth-provoking oompanion, and has ingrained in his Anglished Chinese composition a dash of the philosophical, which tends to make him an agreeable and valuable auxiliary to any Sooiety.

It was about thirty years ago when Mr, Tart first saw the light of day. That important event in his history took place in Canton, where his father had for years previously carried on the business of an ornamental ware-merchant. Little Quong grow in, stature and knowledge, and established himself as a favorite. At a precoiously early ago Quong began to make inquiries about those lands which were to be found beyond the centre of the earth." The superstitions belief that every Englishman was red-headed, and that as a race the Britishers were a terribly ferocious man-eating and boy-murdering lot, instead of filling Quong with overwhelming fear, served to whet his curiosity. He resolved to see the outer world, but there was this diflioulty, how could he get away from home. At last there came to his quiet home tidings of the'fabulous wealth whioh could be collected on the Australian goldfields. Quong was only 9 years old; but such was the earnestness of his pleading that he obtained permission to accompany an uncle of his who was journeying to the Sunny south. His uncle was going to Australia to take charge of alot of Chinese, and it was intended that little Quong should act as interpreter. However, little Quong had made up his mind to try his luok on the gold fields and decided that the interpretation could be relegated to any who might choose to do it. He went to the goldfields, expeoting to find theprecious metal in great lumps, and he thought that the only thing required to be done was to rake it together and " realise." : But how different the anticipation and the realisation . Instead of it being all gold and no work, it was all work and very little gold. Soon after he landed, little Quong's bravery sustained a severe shock. He had always ridiculed the tales about the people in these climos being man-eaters, until one day he saw a brutal looking fellow take deliberate aim with a gun at what Quong thought was a boy in a tree. The man was a good shot, and down came the boy, and away went Quong as fast as his nimble legs would carry him. He thought that he had at last seen a veritable man-eater, who, wanting a delicacy for his dinner, had shot a boy. Quong, then as now, was anxióus to see wrong righted, and his alarm about the man eating murderer led to inquiries, andthe disclosure of the truth. What was shot was a 'possum up agum tree.

Mr. Quong Tart beoame one of the household of Mrs. R. B. Simpson in Braidwood. Of this lady's kindness he speaks with a display of feeling bordering on revereuoe. It was Mrs. Simpson who taught him to do almost everything ; it was Mrs. Simpson who made a man of him ; and his present position he attributes to the interest Mrs. Simpson displayed in little Quong. Mr. Quong Tart soon established himself as a popular youth in Braidwood. His activity knew no bounds. He was the promoter of races, the captain of a cricket club, and the founder of a football team. To an ordinary man a finger in so many pies would have sufficed. Not so with Mr. Quong. He was an active member of the Churoh of England, to whioh he had been admitted by baptism, and he took an active part in every social affair. He left Braidwood in 1881 ; but before he severed his oonnection with the place he was feted and testimonialised from all quarters.'

Then oame another great event in his history. After years of roaming with the " heathen," he went

The Chinese Philanthropist in Sydney : Mr. Quong Tart.

home, and mingled once more with the companions of his boyhood. Little Quong had in the meantime strangely altered, and as he forged his way into the interior in his European dress, he created the biggest sensation whioh had, up to that time, been known in the locality. A bullock whioh was being worked in the field refused to remain within sight of so strange a visitor. It kicked, snorted, plunged, and roared until it tore itself free, and then made off at a terrific pace. Mr. Tart at length reached his old home, but his father failed to recognise him. The truth was made plain when Mr. Tart said to his aged sire, "Father, I have kept the promise I made to yon. Since I left your care I have not tasted opium." The old man's heart bounded with joy, for he was one who had ever been zealous in endeavoring to shake from his countrymen that hideous curse, opium smoking, and his hope had ever been that the force of his example might save his children. Crowds followed Mr. Tart as he moved from place to place. Strange remarks were sometimes levelled at him, but they were always received in good humor. When Mr. Tart found an opportunity for addressing his oountrymen he did so, and he would sometimes mystify them with Scottish songs, many of which; he sings with admirable effect.

He went into one town when a fair was being held. Shows of all kinds were there, but the greatest " show" was Mr. Tart. In fact, so great an attraction was he that the showmen requested him to leave the place, and not ruin their trade. The result of that visit to China was the completion, of the negotiations for starting, the business, he conducts so sucessfully in Sydney.

The prominent part which Mr. Tart has taken in giving annual treats to the poor in the various asylums in and around Sydney proves that charity is not peculiar to Europeans, but that in this respect Asiatics will compare favorably with their lighter colored brethren. Mr. Tart's exertions in this cause are oreditable not only, to himself and the race he belongs to; but to the country in which he appears to have made His home.

Saturday 21 August 1886 Australian Town and Country Journal (NSW)

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